At this year's Geneva Motor Show there’s a movement towards hybrid or alternative fuel cars. BMW are showing their i3, Toyota have the i-Road concept on display and Audi are showing the A3 e-Tron hybrid and the A3 Sportback g-Tron, which uses compressed natural gas. In 2013 super car makers have got in on the act. Ferrari are showing LaFerrari, a V12-powered hybrid supercar of which only 499 will ever be built, but the most impressive of this new breed of sensible super cars is the McLaren P1.
The McLaren's specs suggest a 'conventional' hyper car, as it will reach 62 mph from a standing start in less than 3 seconds and go onto a top speed of 217 mph. It generates 600kg of downforce and 664 lb ft of torque. There’s an F1 inspired DRS system that lowers the rear wing to reduce drag by 23%, and a seven-speed gearbox that drops the revs quickly to speed up gearshifts.
Power comes from the McLaren built M838T, a 3.8 litre twin-turbo mid mounted engine that produces 727 hp. All of these things make the car faster, but the most important aspect of the new McLaren is the electric motor that’s attached to the mid mounted petrol engine, which adds a further 176 hp to the mix.
With the petrol engine disengaged, drivers can forget the performance and enjoy the quiet for 7 miles of emission free driving. With the petrol motor engaged, there’s a combined CO2 of 200g/km, which is comparable with SUVs with none of the McLaren’s performance and the odd ‘quick’ saloon car.
Aside from the McLaren and the Ferrari, Porsche are also producing a hybrid super car. The 918 will run 15 miles on electricity and is expected to be the fastest Porsche on the road and may be available in larger volumes than the Ferrari or McLaren, which will help hybrid super cars gain even more ground.